Instead of creating awareness and purchasing traffic, here's a better idea:
Take your marketing budget and withdraw the cash in $1 bills. Then start a bonfire with it. You'll have WAY more fun and at least you'll get a good story out of it.
There are two types of marketing:
- Brand marketing - Creates awareness. Think of Coca Cola and car ads.
- Direct response marketing - Creates sales. If the sales can't be measured, they didn't happen.
Brand marketing is what many of us are most familiar with (we get hit with this all the time). But this isn't a viable strategy for an early-stage startup.
Startups don't have the luxury of large budgets and healthy cash flow. Every dollar counts. So you'll want to stick to direct response marketing and make sure that your marketing produces a positive ROI. If not, you're burning your runway.
But you'll still want to hold off on the marketing until AFTER you've found product-market fit.
Remember, marketing is just selling at scale. And if you haven't found product-market fit, you won't know who you're selling to or what you're selling. So there's no point in scaling anything.
Instead, focus your marketing dollars (and time) on research. Schedule coffee meetings with prospects so that you can understand every detail of their problem. And run quick split tests on landing pages to test value propositions on traffic from AdWords, Facebook ads, or Twitter.